How good is Kallis the ODI allrounder?
While the attention of most of the cricketing world was on the tri-series in Malaysia, Jacques Kallis went ahead and helped himself to another milestone, becoming only the second player, after Sanath Jayasuriya, to achieve the double of 8000 runs and 200 wickets in ODIs. Quite characteristically, he achieved the feat with minimum fuss, pushing a single to mid-on to get the off at East London after being stranded on 7999 runs at the end of the previous match, at Bloemfontein.
Over the last decade, Kallis has been one of the few genuine allrounders in the game, at his very best capable of commanding a place in the side on the strength of either skill: between 1998 and 2002, he averaged 45.60 with the bat and 28.32 with the ball in ODIs. However, a combination of busy schedules and injuries have clearly taken the sting off his bowling in the last four years, even though Kallis the batsman remains a formidable opponent. The table below shows his ODI record, before and since 2003: in the latter period, he averages only 0.66 wickets per match, well below what he used to before 2003, while the bowling average has taken a severe beating as well.
Despite the bowling slump, Kallis's ODI numbers look very impressive - a batting average of nearly 44, and a bowling average of less than 32. The difference of nearly 12 runs is the highest for all allrounders who have scored at least 2000 ODI runs and taken 50 wickets.
|Player||ODIs||Bat ave||Bowl Ave||Difference|
The above table, however, doesn't take into account the strike-rate and the economy-rate, two factors which are crucial when talking about limited-overs matches. Despite possessing all the strokes in the book, Kallis has almost always performed the role of the anchor, leaving the big-hitting to more flamboyant strokeplayers like Herschelle Gibbs, Graeme Smith and Lance Klusener (when he was around). The result is a strike-rate of 70 runs per 100 balls, certainly a below-average figure, especially in the context of the slam-bang stuff that is the norm in one-day cricket today.
Taking into account both the scoring-rate and the economy-rate (by multiplying the batting average by the scoring rate per ball, and the bowling average with the runs conceded per ball), and then subtracting the batting index by the bowling one, Kallis's rating drops down significantly, and he barely makes the top ten.
The list is headed by Viv Richards, thanks to his outstanding batting average and strike rate, while two other South African allrounders, Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock, sneak ahead of Kallis primarily due to their ability to score quickly, and in Pollock's case, also his frugality with the ball. The biggest beneficiary of including the scoring rate, though, is India's Kapil Dev - he scored nearly four runs fewer per innings than the number he conceded per wicket, but he scored his runs at breakneck speed, and he was Mr Scrooge with the ball. The result: eighth position in the table.
|Player||Bat ave, SR||Bat ave*SR (1)||Bowl ave, ER||Bowl ave*ER (2)||1-2|
|Viv Richards||47.00, 0.90||42.40||35.83, 0.75||26.84||15.55|
|Lance Klusener||41.10, 0.90||36.96||29.95, 0.78||23.48||13.48|
|Andrew Flintoff||34.28, 0.89||30.56||25.82, 0.73||18.89||11.67|
|Greg Chappell||40.19, 0.76||30.43||29.12, 0.67||19.65||10.78|
|Imran Khan||33.41, 0.73||24.27||26.62, 0.65||17.78||6.99|
|Shaun Pollock||25.19, 0.86||21.55||24.39, 0.63||15.26||6.29|
|Andrew Symonds||39.00, 0.92||35.87||36.30, 0.83||29.98||5.89|
|Kapil Dev||23.79, 0.95||22.62||27.45, 0.62||17.02||5.60|
|Chris Gayle||38.94, 0.79||30.77||32.87, 0.78||25.53||5.24|
|Jacques Kallis||43.65, 0.70||30.56||31.90, 0.80||25.52||5.04|
A relentless run-fest
Four times in just over six months now, teams have passed 400 in one-day internationals - batsmen have never had it so good, and bowlers have never looked so hapless. The table below indicates just how the scoring rates in ODIs have been increasing over the decades.
The runs have clearly come thick and fast in the 2000s, but especially since 2005 - six of the seven highest team scores ever in ODIs have come in the last 15 months. The table below lists ODI run-rates in each country since the 2003 World Cup. Among the regular Test-playing countries, India is the one where runs are scored the fastest, but it's interesting to note that in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan too the average run-rate has climbed up to more than five an over. Of the lot, New Zealand is the most surprising - just before the 2003 World Cup, India toured the country and played out one of the most low-scoring ODI series, with both teams struggling to post even 150 on green tracks. Clearly, a lot has changed since then.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo. For some of the stats, he was helped by Travis Basevi and Arun Gopalakrishnan.